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372                   HISTORY OF PERSIA                 CHAP.
defeated and captured. Ahmad Shah after occupying
Herat inarched against Meshed. Mir Alum met him,
but was defeated and killed, and Meshed surrendered
With a moderation both rare and sagacious, Ahmad Shah,
after adding Herat and Sistan to his kingdom, decided to
constitute Khorasan a separate state under Shah Rukh,
but acknowledging Afghan suzerainty. The Afghans,
it is interesting to note, have never forgotten that the
Pul-i-Abrisham, or " Bridge of Silk," some seventy miles
to the west of Sabzawar on the Meshed-Teheran road,
was once the western boundary of their empire.
The Origin of the Kajar Tribe.—The Kajar tribe is of
Turkish origin. Settled for a long time in Armenia, it
was brought to Persia by Tamerlane. As already men-
tioned, it was one of the Kizilbash tribes which supported
the Safavi dynasty. Shah Abbas divided the Kajars into
three sections. Of these, one was established at Merv,
a second in Georgia, and the third—which was sub-
divided into the Yukhari-bash and Ashagha-bash, or
"upper" and "lower" branches—on the River Gurgan.
It is with the Gurgan section alone that we are concerned.
The head of the <c upper branch " was looked upon
as the chief of the whole tribe until Path Ali Khan
became the Commander-in-Chief of Shah Tahmasp, and
when holding this appointment transferred the chieftain-
ship to the " lower branch."
Mohamed Husayn Khan, Kajar.—Upon the assassina-
tion of Path Ali Khan by Nadir, that general naturally
favoured the upper branch, and Mohamed Husayn Khan,
son of Path Ali Khan, fled to the Turkoman. By their
aid he for a time occupied Astrabad and incidentally
looted Hanway's goods, as mentioned in the previous
chapter; but until the death of Nadir Shah he was unable
to effect anything of importance. Upon the assassination
of that tyrant he raised a force with which he opposed
Ahmad Shah successfully and occupied the Caspian pro-
vinces. He was thus in a position, to fight for the throne.
A%ad the Afghan and Mar dan Ali Khan, Bakhtiari.—
Azerbaijan was at this time occupied by Azad, one of
Nadir's Afghan generals, who after warring with the